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Canada mum about giving Modi a visa

January 15, 2011 21:15 IST
Nobody in Canada's Department of Foreign Affairs would talk as to whether they have decided to give a visa to Gujarat Chief Minister, Narendra Modi, to enable him to travel to Canada to meet with the large Gujarati community and also the Canadian business people.

But a report in the Toronto Star says the Canadian government has decided to give Modi a visa despite some objections from human rights groups in India.

'Inviting Modi to Canada would be a bold move,' the story says. 'It would probably help Canadian firms looking to invest in Gujarat, a prosperous and economically advanced state in west India, and could also help Canada's interest in India if Modi's political party, the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, regains power.'

The story also details as to how the US has banned Modi's entry to the country as long as his case concerning tragic events in 2002, now before the Supreme Court,  is not settled.  Similarly the UK government 'has a working policy to have no contact with the Gujarat state government,' a spokesman of the British High Commission in New Delhi is quoted as saying.

The Canadian Gujarati community and the Canada-India Foundation played a very active role in the Canadian government establishing its trade office in Ahmedabad last year. 

There were some noises from the human rights organizations that time also but it was all disregarded by the Canadian government.  Prime minister Stephen Harper himself had spoken about the significance of opening their trade office in Gujarat as also in some other states.

Ajit Jain in Toronto